Self-presentation in the Sciences - compiled by C. Camille Cooper, revised 4/2001

The works on this handout offer guidelines on presenting oneself -- in writing and in person -- as a scientist. Though the focus is on writing scientific & technical reports, a few of the items listed offer practical advice on career-related activities such as résumé writing, what to expect from professional life, and interacting with the press.

The sequence of numbers and letters in bold type beneath each entry is the Library of Congress call number for that item; books are shelved in the library in alpha-numeric order by this sequence of characters. To see if a particular book is available, go to the Library Catalog <>, the online catalog for all UT-Austin libraries.


Cochran, Wendell, et. al., eds., 1995, Geowriting : a guide to writing, editing, and printing in earth science, 5th ed., Alexandria, VA, American Geological Institute, 80 p.
QE 48.85 G46 1995 GEOL Reference
* Outlines all steps of manuscript preparation from organization to graphics to typeface choice

Cooray, P.G.,1989, Geoscientific writing and editing, 2nd ed., Bangkok, Thailand, AGID, 46 p.
Z 253 C693 1989 GEOL
* Writing, illustrating, and editing geoscientific papers and reports; geared toward non-native speakers of English

Grant, Brian, 1999, Geoscience Reporting Guidelines, Victoria, B.C., Canada, 346 p.
QE 48.85 G73 2003 GEOL
* A straightforward guide to clear and consistent science writing with an emphasis on social aspects of geological topics. Includes an overview of digital mapping issues

Hoffman, S. J., 2001, Writing geochemical reports: guidelines for surficial geochemical surveys, Vancouver, Canada, Association of Exploration Geochemists, 29 p.
T 11 W75 2001 GEOL
* Format and content guidelines for geochemical reports

LeRoy, L. W., et. al., eds., 1977, Subsurface geology, 4th ed., Golden, CO, Colorado School of Mines, 941 p.
TN 871.15 S9 1977
* Part 7, of this classic volume "The Geologic Report," addresses technical report writing and illustrating

Malde, Harold E., 1986, Guidelines for reviewers of geological manuscripts, Alexandria, VA, American Geological Institute. 28 p.
T 11 M29 1986 GEOL
T 11 M29 1986 GEOL Reference
* Questions to be considered when reviewing geological manuscripts and maps; useful for both authors and reviewers

Moore, John E., 1991, A guide for preparing hydrologic and geologic projects and reports, Dubuque, Iowa : Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co. 96 p.
QE 48.85 M66 1991 GEOL
* Specific guidance for both hydrologic and geologic reports.

Papa, Gail, ed., 1986, Writer's guide to periodicals in earth sciences, 2nd ed., Alexandria, VA, American Geological Institute, 1 v.
T 11 W 74 1986 GEOL Reference
* Briefly outlines scope of each major earth science journal to help contributors choose the most suitable one(s) for their manuscripts; published in 1986, so not necessarily up-to-date


Alley, Michael, 1996, The craft of scientific writing, 3rd ed., New York, Springer, 282 p.
T 11 A37 1996
* Written by a writer and physicist as a textbook for a course in scientific writing; uses good and bad examples for a wide variety of scietific writing styles

Blecher, Wendy Laura, 2009, Writing your journal article in 12 weeks : a guide to academic publishing success, Thousand Oaks, Calif., SAGE Publications, 351 p.
Z 471 B45 2009 GEOL
* Each week, readers learn a particular feature of strong articles and work on revising theirs accordingly. At the end of twelve weeks, they send their article to a journal.

Blum, Deborah, and Knudson, Mary, eds., 1997, A field guide for science writers, New York, Oxford University Press, 287 p.
T 11 F52 1997 GEOL
* Collected essays by science writers on written and verbal communication in scientific and technological fields

Booth, Vernon, 1993, Communicating in science: writing a scientific paper and speaking at scientific meetings, England, Cambridge University Press, 78 p.
Q 223 B664 1993 GEOL
* Advice -- with a British slant -- on writing for and speaking to scientific audiences

Carter, Sylvester P., 1987, Writing for your peers: the primary journal paper, New York, Praeger, 129 p.
T 11 C329 1987 GEOL
* Developing and organizing the content of a paper to be published in a scientific journal

Day, Robert A., 1983, How to write and publish a scientific paper, 2nd ed., Phoenix, Oryx Press, 211 p.
T 11 D33 1983 GEOL
* Considerations to be made when preparing various types of manuscripts for publication

Gosling, Peter J., 1999, Scientist's guide to poster presentations, New York, Kluwer Publishers, 139p.
Q 179.94 G67 1999 GEOL
* Detailed practical guidance on all aspects of presenting scientific information in the form of posters

Katz, Michael J., 1985, Elements of the scientific paper, New Haven, Yale University Press, 130 p.
T 11 K34 1985 GEOL
* Presents rules for writing scientific papers in a sequence that mirrors the scientific process

Lewis, Douglas W, 1993, Practical sedimentology, 2nd ed., New York, Chapman & Hall, 213 p.
QE 471 L46 1994 GEOL
* Chapter 10 offers guidelines for writing a sci-tech report, with emphasis on environmental impact studies

Mauch, James E., and Birch, Jack W., 1998, Guide to the successful thesis and dissertation, New York, Marcel Dekker, 335 p.
LB 2369 M377 1998 GEOL
* Practical handbook. Not specifically aimed at degree candidates in the sciences

Menzel, Donald H., et. al., 1961, Writing a technical paper, New York, McGraw-Hill, 132 p.
PE 1475 M4 GEOL
* Emphasis on clear, concise, grammatically-correct presentation of sci-tech information

Murray, Melba Jerry, and Hay-Roe, Hugh, 1986, Engineered writing: a manual for scientific, technical, and business writers, 2nd ed., Tulsa, OK, PennWell Books, 292 p.
PE 1478 M8 1986 GEOL
* Systematic method for "engineering" clear, concise, and stylistically correct reports; provides numerous examples of problems and solutions

Oliver, Paul, 2004, Writing Your Thesis, London, Sage Publications, 197 p.
LB 2369 O45 2004 GEOL
*This book is designed to help synthesize research data into a thesis.

Orchard, David, et al., 2000, Figuratively speaking in the computer age : techniques for preparing and presenting presentations, Tulsa, AAPG, 101 p.
TR 385 f548 2000 GEOL
* A resource for preparing computer and slide illustrations to accompany oral presentations.

Style Manual Committee, Council of Biology Editors, 1994, Scientific style and format: the CBE manual for authors, editors, and publishers, 6th ed., New York, Cambridge University Press, 825 p.
T 11 S386 1994 GEOL
* Styling and formatting scientific papers, journals, and books for publication; oriented towards life sciences, but has chapter devoted to geologic concerns

Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, 1996, Publication style, production guidelines, Austin, TX, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, 49 p.
PN 160 T49 1996 GEOL
* Style guide for TNRCC publications

Trelease, Sam F., 1958, How to write scientific and technical papers, Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins, 185 p.
PE 1475 T67 GEOL
* Preparing illustrated papers or reports on scientific or technical subjects

Tufte, Edward R., 1983, The visual display of quantitative information, Cheshire, CT, Graphics Press, 197p.
QA 90 T837 1983 GEOL
* Classic text with hundreds of charts, graphs, and illustrations providing examples for representing statistical information in graphical ways

Tufte, Edward R., 1990, Envisioning information, Cheshire, CT, Graphics Press, 126p.
QA 90 T834 1990 GEOL
* Another classic work providing strategies for optimal rendering of dimension and density of all kinds of information; hundreds of illustrations

Tufte, Edward R., 1997, Visual explanations : images and quantities, evidence and narrative, Cheshire CT, Graphics Press, 156p.
P 93.5 T846 1997 GEOL
* Another of Tufte's useful guides, focusing on how to depict process, motion, and causation.

Turk, Christopher, 1989, Effective writing: improving scientific, technical and business communication, 2nd ed., New York, E. & F.N. Spon, 277 p.
T 11 T75 1989 GEOL
* Focuses on issues of writing style and graphic presentation of information; provides extensive examples

UNESCO, 1976, Engineering Geological Maps, Paris, Unesco Press, 79p.
TA 705 I49 1976 GEOL
* Guidance in preparation and editing of engineering geological maps

Valiela, Ivan, 2001, Doing science: design, analysis, and communication of scientific research, Oxford, New York; Oxford University Press, 294 p.
Q 180 A1 V35 2001
* Offers "useful, practical advice based on how working scientists practice their craft." Includes advice on presenting final results.


GSA Citation Styles. ‹› University of Maine, Farmington.

Dean, Cornelia. 2009. Am I making myself clear? : a scientist's guide to talking to the public. Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press. 274 p.
Q 223 D43 2009 GEOL

Hill, Mary, and Cochran, Wendell. 1977. Into print: a practical guide to writing, illustrating, and publishing, Los Altos, CA, William Kaufmann, Inc., 175 p.
PN 155 H5 GEOL
* Explanation of the publishing process; most useful for its examples of graphic presentation forms (charts, maps, etc.)

Lipson, Charles, 2008. Doing Honest Work in College: How to prepare citations, avoid plagiarism, and achieve real academic success. University of Chicago Press.
PN 171 F56 L56 2008 GEOL

McMillan, Kathleen and Weyers, Jonathan. 2007. How to write dissertations & project reports. Harlow : Pearson Prentice Hall.
LB 2369 M378 2007 GEOL

Nicholson, Margaret, 1967. A practical style guide for authors and editors, New York, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 143 p.
PN 147 N53 GEOL
* Rules of punctuation, grammar, and style

Paltridge, Brian and Sue Starfield, 2007. Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language: a Handbook for Supervisors.
LB 2369 P353 2007 GEOL

Strunk, William, Jr., and White, E. B. 1962, The elements of style, New York, Macmillan, 71 p.
PE 1408 S772 1962 GEOL
(newer editions at ENG, FAL, LIFE SCI, & PCL)
* Classic text covering rules of grammar, composition, and style

Strunk, William, Jr., 1918, The elements of style , online version of first edition, First published May 1995;  Bartleby Library. <>
* The original Strunk online.

Turabian, Kate L., 1996, A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations, 6th ed., Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 308 p.
LB 2369 T8 1996 GEOL Reference (on order)
* Outlines all steps in the paper-writing process from selecting a topic to evaluating and citing sources.


Harnack, Andrew and Kleppinger, Andrew. (1996) Beyond the MLA handbook: documenting electronic sources on the Internet. <>
* Documentation of electronic sources with special attention to the most common mistakes made in such citations

Hacker, Diana and Fister, Barbara. Research and Documentation Online. 5th Edition. Bedford / St. Martin's.

Li, Xia, and Crane, Nancy B., 1996, Electronic styles: a handbook for citing electronic information, 2nd. ed., Westport, CT, Mecklermedia, 231 p.
PN 171 F56 L5 1996 GEOL
* Most comprehensive source on citation formats for all types of electronic information (databases, email, electronic journals, etc.)

Marquette University, Raynor Memorial Libraries. Evaluating Web Resources.
* Lists questions to ask when evaluating the credibility of print and electronic resources; has link to similar sites

Wagner, K. (2000). Guide for Citing Electronic Information.
* Types of electronic formats and sample bibliographical representation of each in easy-to-read chart format.


American Geological Institute, 1976, Geology: science and profession , Washington, DC, American Geological Institute, 24 p.
QE 34 A4 1976 GEOL (2 copies)
* Using real-life examples, discusses what geologists do and the preparation necessary for careers in geology

American Institute of Professional Geologists, 1986, The Professional Geologist as Expert Witness. Arvada, CO. American Institute of Professional Geologists, 20 p.
QE 33.2 W54 D82 1986 GEOL
* Guide for geologists in the courtroom

Bloom, Dale F., et. al., 1998, Ph.D. process: A student's guide to graduate school in the sciences, Oxford, 209 p.
Q 181 B5574 1998 GEOL
* Discusses issues ranging from lab etiquette to selecting advisors and writing the dissertation

Bradley, Michael D., 1983, The scientist and engineer in court: American Geophysical Union Water Sources Monograph 8, 111 p.
KF 8968.25 B7 1983 GEOL
* Outlines proceedings in a typical lawsuit and offers advice for science professionals called as expert witness

Christopher, Sundar Anand, 2011. Navigating graduate school and beyond : a career guide for graduate students and a must read for every advisor, Washington, DC, American Geophysical Union, 157 p.
LB 2371.4 C47 2011 GEOL

Fiske, Peter S., 1996, To boldly go: a practical career guide for scientists, Washington D.C., American Geophysical Union, 188 p.
Q 148 F57 1996 GEOL
* Comprehensive career guide covers everything from the job market to résumé writing

Fiske, Peter S., 2001, Put your science to work: the take-charge career guide for scientists, Washington, DC : American Geophysical Union, 179 p.
Q 147 F58 2001 GEOL

Gibs, James A., 1985, Finding work as a petroleum geologist: hints for the jobseeker , Tulsa, OK, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 15 p.
HF 5382.7 G354 1985 GEOL
* Concise overview of the preparation necessary to secure a position and of the major employers in the industry

Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, 1994, Geoscience in the courtroom: a cross-disciplinary seminar on the effective and appropriate use of geological science in litigation: Short Course No. 3, 44th Annual Meeting, GCAGS, 110 p.
KF 1819 G467 1994 GEOL
* Collection of essays by legal professionals and geologists addressing litigation, legal documentation, and testimony both in general and as they apply to geology and geologists

Higgins, Jerry D., and Williams, John W., eds., 1991, Academic preparation for careers in engineering geology and geological engineering : Special Publication No. 2, Association of Engineering Geologists, Sudbury, MA, 83 p.
TA 705.2 A28 1991
* Collection of brief essays addressing education and professional duties; includes descriptions of 13 institutions' programs

Hoose, Seena N., ed., 1993, Professional practice handbook, 3rd ed., Sudbury, MA, Association of Engineering Geologists, 1 v.
TA 705 P76 1993 GEOL
* Professional standards for engineering geologists; also contains guidelines for report-writing

Kuchner, Marc J., 2012, Marketing for scientists : how to shine in tough times, Wasoington, D.C., Island Press, 236 p.
Q 147 K83 2012 GEOL
*Contents: Business -- The fundamental theorem of marketing -- How to sell something -- Building relationships -- Branding -- Archetypes -- The consumers of science -- Our products : how we get job offers and funding -- Writing proposals and making figures -- Papers and conferences -- Giving talks -- Internet and e-mail marketing -- The general public and the government -- How to market science itself -- Starting a movement -- Take-home marketing tips for scientists.

Lewis, Adele, 1988, The best résumés for scientists and engineers, New York, John Wiley & Sons, 247 p.
Q 148 L47 1988 GEOL
* Interviewing and résumé construction; provides sample résumés for a variety of sci-tech job types.

Nettles, Michael T and Catherine M. Millett, 2006, Three Magic Letters: getting to Ph.D., Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University Press.
LB 2386 N48 2006 GEOL
*Includes discussions about financing, socializing, and other concerns about getting through a Ph.D. program

Petre, Marian and Rugg, Gorgon, 2010, The unwritten rules of PhD research, New York, McGraw Hill/Open University Press, 272 p.
LB 2386 P48 2010 MAIN
*Contents: So you want to do a PhD? -- The many shapes of the PhD -- The route to research independence -- Supervision -- Networks -- Reading -- Paper types -- Research design -- Critical thinking -- Writing -- Writing structure and style -- The process of writing -- Presentations -- Conferences --The viva -- Sabotage and salvation -- What next? -- Closing thoughts.

Reis, Richard M., 1987, Tomorrow's professor: preparing for academic careers in Science and Engineering, New York, IEEE Press, 516 p.
Q 149 U6 R45 1997 GEOL
* Broad how-to overview of entire process from dissertation through tenure.

Rose, Peter R., ed., 1994, Guiding your career as a professional geologist , Tulsa, OK, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 78 p.
QE 34 G85 1994 GEOL
* Advice from 20 seasoned professionals on how to plan for and handle all stages of a geoscientific career, from academic preparation through retirement

Rossbacher, Lisa A., 1989, Geomedia: a guide for geoscientists who meet the press, Alexandria, VA, American Geological Institute, 45 p.
PN 4888 G46 R67 1988 GEOL
* Strategies for working with the press

Seymour, Elaine et al., 2005, Partners in Innovation: Teaching Asssistants in College Science Courses, Lanhan, MD, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 327 p.
Q 183.3 A1 S44 2005 GEOL
*Discusses the role Graduate and Undergrad TAs should play in current teaching.

Sindermann, Carl J., 1982, Winning the games scientists play, New York, Plenum Press, 290 p.
Q 175 S569 1982 GEOL
* Presents the scientific career as a "game" and offers detailed advice on how to succeed in it

Sindermann, Carl J., 1985, The joy of science: excellence and its rewards, New York, Plenum Press, 259 p.
Q 147 S56 1985 GEOL
* Similar to author's 1982 work, but focuses on excellence in science, using material from interviews with esteemed, practicing scientists

Sindermann, Carl J., 1997, The scientist as consultant: building new career opportunities, New York, Plenum Press, 356 p.
Q 147 S562 1997 CHEM (in Chemistry library)
* Useful for any scientist considering a career in consulting.

Snieder, R., & Larner, K. L, 2009, The art of being a scientist: A guide for graduate students and their mentors. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 286 p.
Q 147 S64 2009 GEOL
* Useful advice about effective research habits, academic planning, problem solving, personal development, and scientific careers.